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Use These Three Tools to Get Your Product to Market Faster?

From idea to retail merchandizing, it can take what seems like an eternity to bring your new product to life. If your product is a pharmaceutical, it will take over a decade. The reason we have a patent system is to provide the inventor with exclusivity on the idea for a long enough period of time that it can actually make it to a store shelf before a bigger company can steal it and do it faster. Skipping the patent for your idea is one shortcut you most certainly do not want to take.

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improve productivityFrom idea to retail merchandizing, it can take what seems like an eternity to bring your new product to life. If your product is a pharmaceutical, it will take over a decade. The reason we have a patent system is to provide the inventor with exclusivity on the idea for a long enough period of time that it can actually make it to a store shelf before a bigger company can steal it and do it faster. Skipping the patent for your idea is one shortcut you most certainly do not want to take.

That said, there are shortcuts that can give you a competitive advantage. Whatever innovation you have conceived, there is an excellent chance that someone else is feverishly working on something similar. Patent or no, it is always a race to market. It may not be everything. But there is definitely some benefit to getting there first. Here are three things you can do to help you capture the flag:

Simplify Your Computing Architecture

There is a good chance your project involves a computer at some level. It may not be the kind that plays solitaire and runs spreadsheets. But almost everything with a plug or a battery is powered by a computer chip. Overcomplicating that computing element can slow your project to a crawl.

But there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to embedded computing. There are plenty of companies that have this sort of thing already figured out. You can save a lot of time and money by leveraging their expertise, while at the same time, getting a component customized to your needs. One maker of custom computer modules, Kontron, puts it this way:

Computer-on-Modules (COM) are highly integrated computer modules that support system expansion and application-specific customization without the use of cables. When using a Computer-on-Module, customers don’t need to worry about the complex design of the COM, instead freeing them to concentrate on their core business.

With so many Computer-on-Modules and System on a Chip options, there is no reason to spend the lion’s share of your resources developing your own silicon solutions.

Model It Before You Build It

This may seem like an extra step. But I assure you, it isn’t. Often, the difference between producing a good product and a bad one is having the ability to see it before you send it into production. In a piece on innovations that are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, two dealt with product modeling.

One way to model a product is virtually. Computers are powerful enough to model just about anything with a stunning degree of accuracy. You can test many aspects of the product without manufacturing a single part. You can find out if your design will hold up to heat, pressure, or force without spending a lot of time and money learning it the hard way. You can also use computer modeling to refine the design before you build it.

After you have refined your model, you can just send it to the printer, not the inkjet, the 3D printer. 3D printers are so inexpensive, even average people can buy them just to play around with the possibilities. You can use this very accessible technology to make actual models. That way, you can test things like how the product feels in the hand. That is something that computer models will not be able to convey. But modeling it before you build it, you can save a lot of time and money by getting it right the first time.

Crowd Fund It

Finally, one of the most time consuming aspects of a project is finding the funding. These days, you can use a service like Kickstarter to crowd fund your project in just a few weeks. One of the best reviewed iPad keyboards was started in just that way. A bank may not give you millions to fund your project. But the people who will want to buy your product will do just that. Crowd funding is also a great way to test your product’s market viability.

Letting someone else design the silicon, modeling, and crowd funding are three things that can get your project from idea to retail ahead of the competition.

Marketing

Small Biz, Big Name: The 5 Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2019

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Running a local business is tough. So tough, in fact, that 50% of small businesses fail within five years of startup.

With such a competitive marketplace and with so many challenges, it has never been a better time to think about your marketing strategy.

Having effective marketing strategies will help your business stand out from the crowd and set you ahead of your competitors.

However, marketing techniques change all the time, and it’s possible there are new techniques that could help your business reach out to even more customers. So, check out these effective marketing strategies to make sure your business stays ahead in 2019.

1. Facebook Ads

If your small business does not advertise on Facebook, you should reconsider. In fact, two million businesses advertise on Facebook, so there must be something in it!

Facebook ads are an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience. They also have the added bonus of targeting to your chosen audience demographics and location.

Creating a Facebook ad is also pretty quick and easy and does not require specific skills. All you have to do is create a regular Facebook post with images or video to upload, and away you go.

2. Instagram Stories

Instagram marketing is a great way for small businesses to showcase their products and services. Your business may already be using it as a social media tool, but Instagram is always adding features that you might not be aware of.

Instagram stories are a particularly good way of taking your customers “behind the scenes” of your business and building up a real rapport with your followers.

There are lots of fun features in the stories platform that can make your posts really eye-catching, and it is a great way to live-blog events and product launches.

3. Video Marketing

By 2020 video will account for 79% of all internet traffic. So if your business does not have video marketing strategies, you could be missing out.

YouTube is an excellent platform for product demonstrations, “how to” videos, and even holding Q&A sessions. They can increase brand awareness, and help customers get to know the story behind your business.

4. Email Marketing

Using emails for marketing is not a new idea. However, if you have been using the same old templates for a while, it could be time for your small business to upgrade its email marketing strategy.

Modernize your email content can be a really effective marketing strategy, and demonstrate to your customers that you are a forward-thinking business.

Keep the written content short and snappy, and always include images and videos.

5. Optimize For Mobile

People spend a lot of time looking at their phones. If your small business website is not optimized for mobile, you are putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage.

Always double check all pages of your website to make sure they look as good as they can on all devices. Make sure that your site loads quickly too, as users are less likely to hang around waiting for it if they are on a mobile device.

Tips On Effective Marketing Strategies And So Much More

So those are five tips on effective marketing strategies for small businesses in 2019.

If you found this useful, then why not check out some more of our marketing guides right here.

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Marketing

Things to Consider Before Measuring Digital ROI

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talking marketing strategyNot too sure where to get started when measuring ROI? You’re in the right place.

Measuring digital ROI can often prove confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for. You can use soft metrics like social media impressions, email engagement, and website visitors which are essential for shaping your digital marketing strategy.

Or you could focus on hard metrics, like spend and revenue. Both hard and soft metrics feed into calculating digital ROI. This confusion often leads to businesses all over the world outsourcing their digital workloads to a digital marketing agency.

First of all, lets lay out some of the types of key performance indicators that can help you determine your ROI –

  • Overall digital performance: Traffic, sales leads and user reach.
  • Channel: social media platforms, search engines, websites
  • Performance based on source: Pay-per-click, sales emails, direct website traffic and organic search.
  • Performance based on digital campaign: Conversion rates, lead generation and click-throughs to your website.

Once you have decided which key performance indicators are the most applicable to you and your business, you can then start to measure them to determine your ROI. However, do be aware that measuring ROI does have some disadvantages. It all depends on what type of business you are and what constitutes the return. At the same time, it also depends on what the original investment was. Your company need to determine and agree on both of these factors before measuring ROI.

6 Metrics to Help You Determine Your ROI

Once you gain an understanding of what your ROI objectives are, you need to consider the following metrics, and these are what will ultimately help you determine whether a campaign has been successful or not.

Cost Per Lead. This is the amount that you spend on a campaign which is then divided by the number of new leads you get.

Cost Per Acquisition. This is very similar to cost per lead. The difference is that its an actual transaction.

Click-Through Rate. This metric depends on whether a customer clicks through to your website as a result of digital marketing activity. When calculating click-through rates, make sure that the clicks are directly linked to the campaign you are running. For example, if you are running a paid campaign on Facebook, then any clicks you get from Twitter do not apply to the ROI.

Unique Monthly Visitors. This metric will tell you how visitors are coming to your website every month. However, do be aware that this is a very broad metric to measure and needs more investigating to determine which visitors are a direct result of a marketing campaign. Our tip would be to segment this metric by “paid, organic and social.”

Understand Your Customers and Their Consumer Habits

With digital marketing, it’s important to recognise the fact that not all customers can be regarded as equal. This is because not all of them will return to spend money with your business on a regular basis. On the flipside of that, some will consume a lot more of your digital marketing efforts but never convert into a paying customer. With this being said, marketing teams need to understand that it’s not about the number of online users reached, but the type of user reached.

For example, you need to consider what a customer’s transaction value is. You need to identify if they are spending money with you for smaller purchases on an ad-hoc basis or you’ve have found that they are a consistent buyer and have a loyal relationship with your business. There is another factor that can be taken into consideration and that can be the number of years that a customer has been using your business for. By looking at this will allow you to determine their loyalty.

The best course of action for your digital marketing efforts would be to identify who your most profitable customers are, and where they are coming from in terms of your digital marketing efforts. Did they see a social media post? Or, did they receive a product newsletter from you via email? Returning customers are the ones to have the most positive impact on your business, resulting in repeat transactions and higher profits.

Know Where You Are Spending Your Money

If your digital marketing campaign has been strategically planned and implemented in the right way by creating achievable objectives, then this can be a great way to generate promising results and provide you with data to support any future campaigns. Failing to keep track of how much money has been invested in a digital campaign will cause you nothing but problems and your ROI calculations will be wrong.

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Marketing

Building An Anthill: How to Market Your Pest Control Business

person spraying

person sprayingIn today’s internet-driven world, marketing your small business yourself is easier than ever before. Which, is something that is especially true if you know what you’re doing.

People have had problems with pest infestations for as long as civilization has existed. Because of this, you can rest assured that your pest control company will always be in demand.

And, because you know that your customers are already around, the only thing you must worry about is letting them know how to find you.

So, how do you spread the work and track down new customers?

Here’s everything you need to know about marketing your pest control business.

Create a Website

As we said before, the internet is the most powerful tool available to small business owners nowadays. And, the easiest way to take advantage of it is by creating a website.

A website will allow customers and clients to get a taste of the services you have to offer, get an idea of how much you charge, and get in contact with you.

While getting any old website up is a good first step, you may want to check out a few other pest control company’s sites to get an idea of what you should include.

Check Your Local Listings

Phone books are officially antiquated. These days, if you want to track down a specific service in your area, you turn to something like Google Maps.

If you’ve been open for a while, there’s a good chance you already have an online listing. But that doesn’t mean you’re in control of the information on it.

You need to claim all your online listings and make sure they include up-to-date contact information and a link to your company’s website.

Start a Blog

Once you have your website up and running, you’ll need to start generating a little traffic to it. And, one of the most surefire ways to help give your site the SEO boost it may need is by publishing content on it regularly.

A blog will give you an easy way to keep your site’s search engine rankings high. While also educating potential clients on pest control issues they may be having.

For example, by publishing an article on what bed bug bites look like, you could alert a new customer to bed bugs in their home and inspire them to hire you.

Get Social

Having a website is an excellent start. But, one of the best ways to build an online presence and track down new customers is setting your business up with a few social media accounts.

Social media can put you in direct contact with your current and potential customers. It also allows you to keep customers up to date on any special deals your offering.

By keeping up with your social media, you can also use it to take control of your online reputation.

Marketing Your Pest Control Business

The internet can make marketing your company a breeze, but only if you know how to harness it. By following these tips, you’ll be able to market your pest control business and find dozens of new clients in no time.

Are you looking for a few more tips and tricks to help you take your business to the next level? We can help.

We have dozens of articles to help you start a new business or help you grow your existing company. Check them out today.

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